Doom: Agency-land and the holy grail of digital integration

We’ve all been there. Back against the wall, holding your sawn-off shotgun, waiting for the next agency to walk through the door.  It’s like a game of Doom in death match mode where it’s every agency for them selves.

It’s time to enter the boss level. Digital is waiting for you.  There can only be one winner.  You quickly punch in I-D-F-K-A.  You’re armed. Let’s go.

Every agency is fighting for a piece of “digital” these days. It doesn’t leave us in a good place.  We’re fighting over digital strategy, social media strategy, content production, communications planning, analytics, CRM, mobile strategy, mobile apps, training, workshops, consultation, end-to-end delivery, who’s logo goes first on the power point. How did we end up here? Who’s going to win? We’ve all got the same cheat codes.

As Catherine Hornby (head of digital strategy at McCann) points out, it’s the legacy of agencies, not clients.  We’re all playing Doom while they’re playing ThemePark.

All clients, agencies and your sanity wants is an integrated approach.  But collaboration is hard. And that’s okay.  Breathe.  Yep, I said it, collaboration is hard; you compromise, your ego suffers, but hey – we’re not saving lives, so relax a little.

Integration, collaboration and working together. Sounds wonderful on a powerpoint presentation, sounds like your suddenly playing Viva Pinata. Hard in real life, but here’s a great point of view on how it can work (better):

Be nice to each other.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Gavin Heaton at 3:36 pm

    It’s not only the legacy of agencies. While clients continue to remunerate on head hours and create a competitive pitch-to-win environment, there is little incentive for agencies to collaborate.

    Having said that, I love the “relax a little” line. Or as one of the great strategists says, “it’s not life and death, it’s just a marketing emergency”.

  2. Catherine at 8:05 pm

    I agree, Gavin, it’s all part of the vicious cycle. My point is simply that if you have the luxury to do the right thing by your client, and the campaign or programme you’re trying to get away, then collaboration often makes for a better outcome than warring. If you’re fortunate enough to be a client’s trusted partner, and you counsel them to be inclusive, you get the credit not only for the better results but for being non-partisan, which the client rewards with greater trust. A virtuous circle by comparison. Of course it doesn’t always work, and some clients are too small minded to encourage or demand collaboration – but those who are secure enough in their own abilities and management of an agency know that they get better work by not making the agency look over their shoulder constantly by allowing other agencies to constantly pitch – or worse, calling pitches for every project.